Thursday, June 14, 2007

Think Progress » FLASHBACK: One Year Ago, Bush Said He Would ‘Rely Upon Gen. Casey’s’ Advice On Troop Levels

Think Progress » FLASHBACK: One Year Ago, Bush Said He Would ‘Rely Upon Gen. Casey’s’ Advice On Troop Levels

One year ago, President Bush was unsure of the next move to make in the Iraq war. In a Rose Garden briefing, Bush expressed that he was very open to outside advice but that his final decision would ultimately rest on the advice given to him by then-Multinational Force commander Gen. George Casey:

BUSH: Well, I think — I’ve gotten a lot of advice from people. You know, one of the interesting debates from the outside community is troop levels. I’ve got people who say, you need to increase the number of forces — now. I’ve gotten people that said, well, the role of the United States ought to be more indirect than it has been, in other words, in a supporting role. To those folks, I say, look, I’m going to rely upon General Casey.

But Casey was always an outspoken opponent of the escalation. As early as December 2005, Casey publicly warned against an increased U.S. presence in Iraq:

As I’ve said before this is not a conventional war, and in this type of war that we’re fighting, more is not necessarily better. In fact, in Iraq, less coalition at this point in time, is better. Less is better because it doesn’t feed the notion of occupation, it doesn’t work the culture of dependency.

Again, in January 2007, Casey insisted that an escalation of troops was not necessary and could be “counterproductive.” But Bush quickly canned Casey, claiming that Casey “had become more fixated on withdrawal than victory.” In fact, Casey’s sentiments were echoed by all members of the Joint Chiefs of Staff and bipartisan members of Congress, all recognizing the futility of increasing troop levels.

Instead of listening to his own military commanders, Bush smeared Casey and appointed the loyal General David Petraeus, who “cannot be trusted to give an unbiased assessment on Iraq,” to promote the escalation strategy. The Bush administration and Petraeus are now actively working to extend the U.S. stay in Iraq.

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